Turkic Speaking Countries to Form Cooperation Council, Says Gul

ANKARA (Hurriyet)–Turkic speaking countries will establish a cooperation council to deepen their relations under institutional governance, Turkish President Abdullah Gul said Friday.

President Gul has left for Nakhijevan to attend a traditional summit of Turkic speaking countries – Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan.

“The conclusion will be different this time. We’ve agreed to establish the Turkic Speaking Countries Cooperation Council in result of consultations over the last one to two years,” President Gul told reporters at the Esenboga Airport.

In the scope of the summit, President Gül will meet with his Azerbaijani, Kazakh and Kyrgyz counterparts – Ilham Aliyev, Nursultan Nazarbayev and Kurmanbek Bakiyev, as well as Turkmen Vice President Hojamuhammet Muhammedow – to discuss ways to boost multi-dimensional relations.

Traditional consultations that have taken place since 1992 will be shifted to more institutional meetings, Gul said. “At the end of the summit, the declaration will have different content this time. Relying on cooperation stemming from historical, cultural and linguistic ties, the main goal is to increase our common approach and visibility on the international stage.”

According to the agreement that will be inked at the end of the summit, four councils will be set up to reflect a joint approach through routine meetings at the level of presidents, foreign ministries, high-ranking bureaucrats and advisors.

The parliamentarians from the related countries came together in Baku last week, Gul said. “We want to reach beyond a meeting in which only friendly ideas arise. The council will be institutionalized with a permanent secretariat,” he said.

President Gul will hold talks with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Aliyev, with the participation of foreign ministers Ahmet Davutoglu and Elman Memmedyarov. It will be a special roundtable meeting prior to the signing of two protocols with Armenia as part of the reconciliation process.

Upon questions related to Armenian President Serge Sarkisian’s expected visit to Turkey, Gul said: “I didn’t set any preconditions on my part. Football necessitates gentlemanly behavior. As you know, the sports encourage being gentlemanly. That’s why I went (to Yerevan for the first match). I hope President (Sarkisian) will show the same attitude. If he comes, there is no doubt that he will be hosted with optimal conditions.”

Asked if Turkey will take further steps to ease tensions between Iran and the West, Gül said: “As you know, Turkey has paid attention to the diplomatic relations between Iran and the five permanent U.N. security council members, as well as Germany. We will continue our efforts. No doubt, we don’t want any nuclear arms in our region. However, without any inspection or proof, you cannot say ‘this country has nuclear arms.’ We welcome that Iran has invited the International Atomic Energy Agency to hold inspections over its new nuclear activities.”


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